Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Chicken nuggets

From a column in yesterday's WSJ by Tara Parker-Pope: Chicken-Nugget Boom Leads To Worries About Kids' Health.
When it comes to childhood nutrition, few foods are as unhealthy and insidious as the chicken nugget, one of the most popular foods of the two- to six-year-old set. While other junk foods such as hot dogs and potato chips are obviously full of fat and calories, many well-meaning parents think they are doing right by their child's health when they feed them a nugget. After all, it's chicken.

But calling it chicken is a bit of an overstatement. Sure, chicken is the largest ingredient by weight, but once it's turned into a nugget, it's so laden with breading, fillers and fats, it's hardly recognizable as chicken anymore. Some 50% to 60% of the calories in most nuggets come from fat....

The vast majority of nuggets aren't whole pieces of chicken -- instead the chicken is either chopped into small bits or "comminuted," which means the meat and skin is finely ground into an almost paste-like concoction. At that point, binders are added to make it stick together and it's pressed into the traditional nugget shape....

Popular brands of chicken nuggets tend to have far more grams of fat and carbohydrates than they do protein, and most are made with partially hydrogenated oils -- meaning they include cancer-causing trans fats.

No comments: